Dunbar was the District's first interracial high school. Begun as a college preparatory school in 1870 in the basement of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church, the school was moved to Sumner School at 17th and M street NW in 1892 where it was known as the M Street High School. In 1916, Dunbar was moved to the site where it stands today at First and N streets NW and was renamed Dunbar High School after the famous black poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Among Dunbar's more famous alumni are former Massachusetts senator Edward W. Brooke, University of the District of Columbia Professor Robert Artisst, former DC police chief Maurice Turner and the District Democratic nominee {as of press time} for delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Norton, who graduated in 1955, said, "It was more than going to a high school. Dunbar didn't just educate you, it shaped you. It was undoubtedly the best black public high school in the U.S. until the late fifties."

The original Dunbar building was torn down in 1975 to make way for its present, modern structure which was completed in 1977. Today, the campus-like setting has a student body of 1,026. The curriculum includes specialized programs such as pre-engineering, business and humanities programs.

Eva Rousseau, principal at Dunbar, said that "all students can be successful if the training process and expectations are appropriate." Rousseau said she is "pleased that we {Dunbar} send students to Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale."

Dunabr senior Sherron Phillips said, "Dunabr is a wonderful school. We have some double periods that are an hour and a half long to prepare us for college.

Tanessa Starnes, also a senior, said. "If you have a problem, you can always go to a teacher. The teachers get on your back to do your work because they care."